Monday, March 15, 2010
Finding the Courage to Reconcile
I'm an unapologetic optimist. In spite of overwhelming evidence that it's going to rain, I leave the umbrella at home and pack sunglasses. I tend to operate as if what I want to happen...has already happened. And then, of course, I'm surprised when it doesn't.
Which doesn't exactly set me up as the best person to offer advice to women whose husbands have betrayed them. Clearly, I'm either an optimist...or a moron, depending on your point of view.
Frankly, I like Butler's point of view. Butler was no fool, even winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and his notion that optimism often spurs us on when we're scared is a valuable one, I think, to those of us whose future looks frightening.
Once betrayed, we're also susceptible to degrees of post-trauma, navigating a world in which suddenly everything seems topsy-turvy and terrifying. Accepting a wayward husband's attempts at apology and promises of future fidelity can seem like the height of foolishness. "Once a cheater, always a cheater," being a popular saying.
But is it true?
Not necessarily. While stats on repeat offenders seem hard to come by, anecdotally I know of quite a few husbands who kept their promises of fidelity after betrayal. The pain, the resultant fragility of their marriage, the reality of an affair is enough to keep them from ever making that mistake again.
Of course, none of us can really know what the future will deliver. Whether our wayward spouses will keep their new promises...or betray us yet again.
Still, I've cast my vote for optimism. And courage. Life may not always serve up sunshine. But when it does...I'll have my shades.